Canadian showjumper Eric Lamaze and his horse Zigali PS have been honored with overall awards at the close of the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida.
Two special ceremonies were held in the International Arena before the $500,000 CSI5* FTI Consulting Grand Prix Finale, the final event of the circuit. Eric Lamaze and Zigali P S were presented with the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Overall Series Award as the Leading Money Winner, while Zigali P S was recognized with the Champion Equine Insurance Overall Jumper Style Award.
Zigali P S is owned by Carlene and Andy Ziegler’s Artisan Farms.
Impressive results throughout the 12-week Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series, including a win over 95 starters in the $50,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 11, put Lamaze and Zigali P S at the top of the leaderboard based on money won. With a total of $54,100 in prize money earned, Lamaze and Zigali P S surpassed fellow Artisan Farms’ rider Tiffany Foster, who placed second overall in the standings with Victor, having earned $52,400 in total prize money. Foster of Vancouver, BC, and Victor won the WEF Challenge Cup – Section B on two occasions, during weeks three and five.
“Zigali is the horse that has impressed me the most this season,” said Lamaze of the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Kigali x STB-H Palfrenier) whom Carlene and Andy Ziegler acquired in November.
“He was a new horse, coming just before the start of this circuit, so I have spent the past three months getting to know him. Every time we went into the ring, he rose to the challenge and impressed me over and over again. The $500,000 Grand Prix was by far the biggest track I have ever jumped with him, and he handled it unbelievably; nothing was too high or too wide for him. He is a very exciting horse for the future, and I can’t thank Carlene and Andy Ziegler enough for their support.”
In addition, Zigali P S earned the Champion Equine Insurance Overall Jumper Style Award. Presented by Laura Fetterman, owner Carlene Ziegler accepted the award on behalf of Artisan Farms.
“As an owner, it is always fun to see your horses win,” said Ziegler. “It’s particularly enjoyable for them to be consistently in the hunt and that was the case for Eric and Zigali this season. They are a great match and I’m sure they will continue to do big things together!”
Indeed, the pair posted a clear round in the $500,000 FTI Consulting Grand Prix Finale, just barely exceeding the time allowed to incur one time fault for an eighth place finish.
Now the Festival is over, Lamaze and all the members of ‘Team Artisan’ will return to Europe where Artisan Farms is based in Vrasene, Belgium. Lamaze will compete at CSI5* Antwerp, Belgium (April 24-27), CSI5* Madrid, Spain (May 2-4), CSIO5* La Baule, France (May 15-18), and potentially CSIO5* Rome, Italy (May 22-25), before traveling to Canada for the Spruce Meadows Summer Series in Calgary, AB.
His main focus this year is the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games to be held in Normandy, France, at the end of August. The 2010 WEG Individual Bronze Medalist with Hickstead, Lamaze will decide between Zigali P S and Powerplay, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Casall x Limbus), for this year’s competition. Powerplay has competed in Nations’ Cup competition four times for Canada since being acquired by Artisan Farms in May of 2013.
Lamaze is based full-time with Artisan Farms in Vrasene, Belgium, and Wellington, Florida.